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THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE: A STUDY IN HUMAN NATURE

By Judy Bryant,2014-06-30 11:15
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IN THE RELIGION OF THE ONCE-BORN THE WORLD IS A SORT OF RECTILINEAR OR ONE-STORIED AFFAIR, WHOSE ACCOUNTS ARE KEPT IN ONE DENOMINATION, WHOSE PARTS HAVE JUST THE ...

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    The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in

    Human Nature by William James

William James (1842-1910), became one of the most eminent of American philosophers and

    psychologists. He was a teacher at Harvard (1872-1907);, at first of physiology and anatomy, later of

    psychology and philosophy. This material is taken from the book published by The Modern Library, New York, 1902. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.

    Lecture 8: The Divided Self, and the Process of Its Unification

    The last lecture was a painful one, dealing as it did with evil as a pervasive element of the world we live in. At the close of it we were brought into full view of the contrast

    between the two ways of looking at life which are characteristic respectively of what we called the healthy-minded, who need to be born only once, and of the sick souls, who must be twice-born in order to be happy. The result is two different conceptions of the

    universe of our experience. In the religion of the once-born the world is a sort of

    rectilinear or one-storied affair, whose accounts are kept in one denomination, whose parts have just the values which naturally they appear to have, and of which a simple

    algebraic sum of pluses and minuses will give the total worth. Happiness and religious peace consist in living on the plus side of the account. In the religion of the twice-born,

    on the other hand, the world is a double-storied mystery. Peace cannot be reached by the

    simple addition of pluses and elimination of minuses from life. Natural good is not simply insufficient in amount and transient, there lurks a falsity in its very being. Cancelled as it all is by death if not by earlier enemies, it gives no final balance, and can

    never be the thing intended for our lasting worship. It keeps us from our real good, rather; and renunciation and despair of it are our first step in the direction of the truth. There are two lives, the natural and the spiritual, and we must lose the one before we

    can participate in the other.

    In their extreme forms, of pure naturalism and pure salvationism, the two types are violently contrasted; though here as in most other current classifications, the radical extremes are somewhat ideal abstractions, and the concrete human beings whom we oftenest meet are intermediate varieties and mixtures. Practically, however, you all recognize the difference: you understand, for example, the disdain of the methodist convert for the mere sky-blue healthy-minded moralist; and you likewise enter into the

    aversion of the latter to what seems to him the diseased subjectivism of the Methodist,

    dying to live, as he calls it, and making of paradox and the inversion of natural appearances the essence of God’s truth. (E.g., "Our young people are diseased with the theological problems of original sin, origin of evil, predestination, and the like. These never presented a practical difficulty to any man -- never darkened across any man’s

    road, who did not go out of his way to seek them. These are the soul’s mumps, and measles, and whooping-coughs," etc. Emerson: "Spiritual Laws.")

    The psychological basis of the twice-born character seems to be a certain discordancy or

    heterogeneity in the native temperament of the subject, an incompletely unified moral

    and intellectual constitution.

    "Homo duplex, homo duplex!" writes Alphonse Daudet. "The first time that I

    perceived that I was two was at the death of my brother Henri, when my father

    cried out so dramatically, ‘He is dead, he is dead!’ While my first self wept, my

    second self thought, ‘How truly given was that cry, how fine it would be at the

    theatre.’ I was then fourteen years old.

    "This horrible duality has often given me matter for reflection. Oh, this terrible

    second me, always seated whilst the other is on foot, acting, living, suffering,

    bestirring itself. This second me that I have never been able to intoxicate, to

    make shed tears, or put to sleep. And how it sees into things, and how it mocks!"

    (Notes sur la Vie, p. 1.)

    Recent works on the psychology of character have had much to say upon this point. (See, for example, F. Paulhan, in his book Les Caractères, 1894, who contrasts les Equilibres, les Unifiés, with les Inquiets, les Contrariants, les Incohérents, les Emiettés,

    as so many diverse psychic types.) Some persons are born with an inner constitution which is harmonious and well balanced from the outset. Their impulses are consistent with one another, their will follows without trouble the guidance of their intellect, their

    passions; are not excessive, and their lives are little haunted by regrets. Others are oppositely constituted; and are so in degrees which may vary from something so slight as to result in a merely odd or whimsical inconsistency, to a discordancy of which the

    consequences may be inconvenient in the extreme. Of the more innocent kinds of heterogeneity I find a good example in Mrs. Annie Besant’s autobiography.

    "I have ever been the queerest mixture of weakness and strength, and have paid

    heavily for the weakness. As a child I used to suffer tortures of shyness, and if

    my shoe-lace was untied would feel shamefacedly that every eye was fixed on

    the unlucky string; as a girl I would shrink away from strangers and think myself

    unwanted and unliked, so that I was full of eager gratitude to any one who

    noticed me kindly; as the young mistress of a house I was afraid of my servants,

    and would let careless work pass rather than bear the pain of reproving the ill-

    doer; when I have been lecturing and debating with no lack of spirit on the

    platform, I have preferred to go without what I wanted at the hotel rather than to

    ring and make the waiter fetch it. Combative on the platform in defense of any

    cause I cared for, I shrink from quarrel or disapproval in the house, and am a

    coward at heart in private while a good fighter in public. How often have I

    passed unhappy quarters of an hour screwing up my courage to find fault with

    some subordinate whom my duty compelled me to reprove, and how often have

    I jeered at myself for a fraud as the doughty platform combatant, when shrinking

    from blaming some lad or lass for doing their work badly. An unkind look or

    word has availed to make me shrink into myself as a snail into its shell, while,

    on the platform, opposition makes me speak my best." (Annie Besant: an

    Autobiography, p. 82.)

    This amount of inconsistency will only count as amiable weakness; but a stronger degree of heterogeneity may make havoc of the subject’s life. There are persons whose existence is little more than a series of zig-zags, as now one tendency and now another

    gets the upper hand. Their spirit wars with their flesh, they wish for incompatibles, wayward impulses interrupt their most deliberate plans, and their lives are one long drama of repentance and of effort to repair misdemeanors and mistakes.

    Heterogeneous personality has been explained as the result of inheritance -- the traits of

    character of incompatible and antagonistic ancestors are supposed to be preserved alongside of each other. (Smith Baker, in Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, September, 1893.) This explanation may pass for what it is worth -- it certainly needs

    corroboration. But whatever the cause of heterogeneous personality may be, we find the extreme examples of it in the psychopathic temperament, of which I spoke in my first lecture. All writers about that temperament make the inner heterogeneity prominent in their descriptions. Frequently, indeed, it is only this trait that leads us to ascribe that temperament to a man at all. A "dégénéré supérieur" is simply a man of sensibility in many directions, who finds more difficulty than is common in keeping his spiritual house in order and running his furrow straight, because his feelings and impulses are too keen and too discrepant mutually. In the haunting and insistent ideas, in the irrational impulses, the morbid scruples, dreads, and inhibitions which beset the psychopathic temperament when it is thoroughly pronounced, we have exquisite examples of heterogeneous personality. Bunyan had an obsession of the words, "Sell Christ for this, sell him for that, sell him, sell him!" which would run through his mind a hundred times together, until one day out of breath with retorting, "I will not, I will not," he impulsively said, "Let him go if he will," and this loss of the battle kept him in despair for over a year. The lives of the saints are full of such blasphemous obsessions, ascribed invariably to the direct agency of Satan. The phenomenon connects itself with the life of

    the subconscious self, so-called, of which we must erelong speak more directly.

    Now in all of us, however constituted, but to a degree the greater in proportion as we are intense and sensitive and subject to diversified temptations, and to the greatest possible

    degree if we are decidedly psychopathic, does the normal evolution of character chiefly consist in the straightening out and unifying of the inner self. The higher and the lower feelings, the useful and the erring impulses, begin by being a comparative chaos within

    us -- they must end by forming a stable system of functions in right subordination. Unhappiness is apt to characterize the period of order-making and struggle. If the

    individual be of tender conscience and religiously quickened, the unhappiness will take

    the form of moral remorse and compunction, of feeling inwardly vile and wrong, and of standing in false relations to the author of one’s being and appointer of one’s spiritual

fate. This is the religious melancholy and ‘conviction of sin’ that have played so large a

    part in the history of Protestant Christianity. The man’s interior is a battle-ground for

    what he feels to be two deadly hostile selves, one actual, the other ideal. As Victor Hugo makes his Mahomet say: --

    "Je suis le champ vil des sublimes combats:

    Tantôt l’homme d’en haut, et tantôt l’homme d’en bas;

    Et le mal dans ma bouche avec le bien alterne,

    Comme dans le désert le sable et la citerne."

    Wrong living, impotent aspirations; "What I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that

    do I," as Saint Paul says; self-loathing, self-despair; an unintelligible and intolerable

    burden to which one is mysteriously the heir.

    Let me quote from some typical cases of discordant personality, with melancholy in the form of self-condemnation and sense of sin. Saint Augustine’s case is a classic example. You all remember his half-pagan, half-Christian bringing up at Carthage, his emigration

    to Rome and Milan, his adoption of Manicheism and subsequent skepticism, and his restless search for truth and purity of life; and finally how, distracted by the struggle between the two souls in his breast, and ashamed of his own weakness of will, when so many others whom he knew and knew of had thrown off the shackles of sensuality and dedicated themselves to chastity and the higher life, he heard a voice in the garden say, "Sume, lege" (take and read), and opening the Bible at random, saw the text, "not in chambering and wantonness," etc., which seemed directly sent to his address, and laid the inner storm to rest forever. (Louis Gourdon (Essai sur la Conversion de Saint Augustine, Paris, Fischbacher, 1900) has shown by an analysis of Augustine’s writings immediately after the date of his conversion (A.D. 386) that the account he gives in the Confessions is premature. The crisis in the garden marked a definitive conversion from his former life, but it was to the neo-platonic spiritualism and only a halfway stage

    toward Christianity. The latter he appears not fully and radically to have embraced until four years more had passed.) Augustine’s psychological genius has given an account of the trouble of having a divided self which has never been surpassed.

    "The new will which I began to have was not yet strong enough to overcome

    that other will, strengthened by long indulgence. So these two wills, one old, one

    new, one carnal, the other spiritual, contended with each other and disturbed my

    soul. I understood by my own experience what I had read, ‘flesh lusteth against

    spirit, and spirit against flesh.’ It was myself indeed in both the wills, yet more

    myself in that which I approved in myself than in that which I disapproved in

    myself. Yet it was through myself that habit had attained so fierce a mastery

    over me, because I had willingly come whither I willed not. Still bound to earth,

    I refused, O God, to fight on thy side, as much afraid to be freed from all bonds,

    as I ought to have feared being trammeled by them.

    "Thus the thoughts by which I meditated upon thee were like the efforts of one

    who would awake, but being overpowered with sleepiness is soon asleep again.

    Often does a man when heavy sleepiness is on his limbs defer to shake it off,

    and though not approving it, encourage it; even so I was sure it was better to

    surrender to thy love than to yield to my own lusts, yet, though the former

    course convinced me, the latter pleased and held me bound. There was naught in

    me to answer thy call, ‘Awake, thou sleeper,’ but only drawling, drowsy words,

    ‘Presently; yes, presently; wait a little while.’ But the ‘presently’ had no

    ‘present,’ and the ‘little while’ grew long. . . . For I was afraid thou wouldst hear

    me too soon, and heal me at once of my disease of lust, which I wished to satiate

    rather than to see extinguished. With what lashes of words did I not scourge my

    own soul. Yet it shrank back; it refused, though it had no excuse to offer. . . . I

    said within myself: ‘Come, let it be done now,’ and as I said it, I was on the

    point of the resolve. I all but did it, yet I did not do it. And I made another effort,

    and almost succeeded, yet I did not reach it, and did not grasp it, hesitating to die

    to death, and live to life; and the evil to which I was so wonted held me more

    than the better life I had not tried." (Confessions, Book VIII., chaps. v., vii., xi.,

    abridged.)

    There could be no more perfect description of the divided will, when the higher wishes lack just that last acuteness, that touch of explosive intensity, of dynamogenic quality (to use the slang of the psychologists), that enables them to burst their shell, and make

    irruption efficaciously into life and quell the lower tendencies forever. In a later lecture we shall have much to say about this higher excitability.

    I find another good description of the divided will in the autobiography of Henry Alline, the Nova Scotian evangelist, of whose melancholy I read a brief account in my last lecture. The poor youth’s sins were, as you will see, of the most harmless order, yet they interfered with what proved to be his truest vocation, so they gave him great distress.

    "I was now very moral in my life, but found no rest of conscience. I now began

    to be esteemed in young company, who knew nothing of my mind all this while,

    and their esteem began to be a snare to my soul, for I soon began to be fond of

    carnal mirth, though I still flattered myself that if I did not get drunk, nor curse,

    nor swear, there would be no sin in frolicking and carnal mirth, and I thought

    God would indulge young people with some (what I called simple or civil)

    recreation. I still kept a round of duties, and would not suffer myself to run into

    any open vices, and so got along very well in time of health and prosperity, but

    when I was distressed or threatened by sickness, death, or heavy storms of

    thunder, my religion would not do, and I found there was something wanting,

    and would begin to repent my going so much to frolics, but when the distress

    was over, the devil and my own wicked heart, with the solicitations of my

    associates, and my fondness for young company, were such strong allurements, I

    would again give way, and thus I got to be very wild and rude, at the same time

    kept up my rounds of secret prayer and reading; but God, not willing I should

    destroy myself, still followed me with his calls, and moved with such power

    upon my conscience, that I could not satisfy myself with my diversions, and in

    the midst of my mirth sometimes would have such a sense of my lost and

    undone condition, that I would wish myself from the company, and after it was

    over, when I went home, would make many promises that I would attend no

    more on these frolics, and would beg forgiveness for hours and hours; but when

    I came to have the temptation again, I would give way: no sooner would I hear

    the music and drink a glass of wine, but I would find my mind elevated and soon

    proceed to any sort of merriment or diversion, that I thought was not debauched

    or openly vicious; but when I returned from my carnal mirth I felt as guilty as

    ever, and could sometimes not close my eyes for some hours after I had gone to

    my bed. I was one of the most unhappy creatures on earth.

    "Sometimes I would leave the company (often speaking to the fiddler to cease

    from playing, as if I was tired), and go out and walk about crying and praying, as

    if my very heart would break, and beseeching God that he would not cut me off,

    nor give me up to hardness of heart. Oh, what unhappy hours and nights I thus

    wore away! When I met sometimes with merry companions, and my heart was

    ready to sink, I would labor to put on as cheerful a countenance as possible, that

    they might not distrust anything, and sometimes would begin some discourse

    with young men or young women on purpose, or propose a merry song, lest the

    distress of my soul would be discovered, or mistrusted, when at the same time I

    would then rather have been in a wilderness in exile, than with them or any of

    their pleasures or enjoyments. Thus for many months when I was in company, I

    would act the hypocrite and feign a merry heart, but at the same time would

    endeavor as much as I could to shun their company, oh wretched and unhappy

    mortal that I was! Everything I did, and wherever I went, I was still in a storm,

    and yet I continued to be the chief contriver and ring-leader of the frolics for

    many months after; though it was a toil and torment to attend them; but the devil

    and my own wicked heart drove me about like a slave, telling me that I must do

    this and do that, and bear this and bear that, and turn here and turn there, to keep

    my credit up, and retain the esteem of my associates: and all this while I

    continued as strict as possible in my duties, and left no stone unturned to pacify

    my conscience, watching even against my thoughts, and praying continually

    wherever I went: for I did not think there was any sin in my conduct, when I was

    among carnal company, because I did not take any satisfaction there, but only

    followed it, I thought, for sufficient reasons.

    "But still, all that I did or could do, conscience would roar night and day."

    Saint Augustine and Alline both emerged into the smooth waters of inner unity and

    peace, and I shall next ask you to consider more closely some of the peculiarities of the process of unification, when it occurs. It may come gradually, or it may occur abruptly; it may come through altered feelings, or through altered powers of action; or it may

    come through new intellectual insights, or through experiences which we shall later have to designate as ‘mystical.’ However it come, it brings a characteristic sort of relief; and never such extreme relief as when it is cast into the religious mould. Happiness!

    happiness! religion is only one of the ways in which men gain that gift. Easily, permanently, and successfully, it often transforms the most intolerable misery into the profoundest and most enduring happiness.

    But to find religion is only one out of many ways of reaching unity; and the process of

    remedying inner incompleteness and reducing inner discord is a general psychological process, which may take place with any sort of mental material, and need not necessarily assume the religious form. In judging of the religious types of regeneration which we are about to study, it is important to recognize that they are only one species of a genus that contains other types as well. For example, the new birth may be away from religion into incredulity; or it may be from moral scrupulosity into freedom and license; or it may be produced by the irruption into the individual’s life of some new stimulus or passion, such as love, ambition, cupidity, revenge, or patriotic devotion. In all these instances we have precisely the same psychological form of event, -- a

    firmness, stability, and equilibrium succeeding a period of storm and stress and inconsistency. In these non-religious cases the new man may also be born either

    gradually or suddenly.

    The French philosopher Jouffroy has left an eloquent memorial of his own ‘counter-

    conversion,’ as the transition from orthodoxy to infidelity has been well styled by Mr. Starbuck. Jouffroy’s doubts had long harassed him; but he dates his final crisis from a

    certain night when his disbelief grew fixed and stable, and where the immediate result was sadness at the illusions he had lost.

    "I shall never forget that night of December," writes Jouffroy, "in which the veil

    that concealed from me my own incredulity was torn. I hear again my steps in

    that narrow naked chamber where long after the hour of sleep had come I had

    the habit of walking up and down. I see again that moon, half-veiled by clouds,

    which now and again illuminated the frigid window-panes. The hours of the

    night flowed on and I did not note their passage. Anxiously I followed my

    thoughts, as from layer to layer they descended towards the foundation of my

    consciousness, and, scattering one by one all the illusions which until then had

    screened its windings from my view, made them every moment more clearly

    visible.

    "Vainly I clung to these last beliefs as a shipwrecked sailor clings to the

    fragments of his vessel; vainly, frightened at the unknown void in which I was

    about to float, I turned with them towards my childhood, my family, my country,

    all that was dear and sacred to me: the inflexible current of my thought was too

    strong, -- parents, family, memory, beliefs, it forced me to let go of everything.

    The investigation went on more obstinate and more severe as it drew near its

    term, and did not stop until the end was reached. I knew then that in the depth of

    my mind nothing was left that stood erect.

    "This moment was a frightful one; and when towards morning I threw myself

    exhausted on my bed, I seemed to feel my earlier life, so smiling and so full, go

    out like a fire, and before me another life opened, sombre and unpeopled, where

    in future I must live alone, alone with my fatal thought which had exiled me

    thither, and which I was tempted to curse. The days which followed this

    discovery were the saddest of my life."

    ([Beginning a four page long footnote:] Th. Jouffroy: Nouveaux Mélanges

philosophiques, 2me édition, p. 83. I add two other cases of counter-conversion

    dating from a certain moment. The first is from Professor Starbuck’s manuscript

    collection, and the narrator is a woman.

    "Away down in the bottom of my heart, I believe I was always more or less skeptical about ‘God;’ skepticism grew as an undercurrent, all through my early youth, but it was controlled and covered by the emotional elements in my religious growth. When I was sixteen I joined the church and was asked if I loved God. I replied ‘Yes,’ as was customary and expected. But instantly with a flash something spoke within me, ‘No, you do not.’ I was haunted for a long

    time with shame and remorse for my falsehood and for my wickedness in not loving God, mingled with fear that there might be an avenging God who would punish me in some terrible way. . . . At nineteen, I had an attack of tonsilitis.

    Before I had quite recovered, I heard told a story of a brute who had kicked his wife downstairs, and then continued the operation until she became insensible. I felt the horror of the thing keenly. Instantly this thought flashed through my mind: ‘I have no use for a God who permits such things.’ This experience was followed by months of stoical indifference to the God of my previous life, mingled with feelings of positive dislike and a somewhat proud defiance of him. I still thought there might be a God. If so he would probably damn me, but I

    should have to stand it. I felt very little fear and no desire to propitiate him. I have never had any personal relation with him since this painful experience."

    The second case exemplifies how small an additional stimulus will overthrow

    the mind into a new state of equilibrium when the process of preparation and incubation has proceeded far enough. It is like the proverbial last straw added to the camel’s burden, or that touch of a needle which makes the salt in a

    supersaturated fluid suddenly begin to crystallize out.

    Tolstoy writes: "S., a frank and intelligent man, told me as follows how he ceased to believe:-

    "He was twenty-six years old when one day on a hunting expedition, the time for sleep having come, he set himself to pray according to the custom he had held from childhood.

    "His brother, who was hunting with him, lay upon the hay and looked at him. When S. had finished his prayer and was turning to sleep, the brother said, ‘Do you still keep up that thing?’ Nothing more was said. But since that day, now

    more than thirty years ago, S. has never prayed again; he never takes communion, and does not go to church. All this, not because he became acquainted with convictions of his brother which he then and there adopted; not

    because he made any new resolution in his soul, but merely because the words spoken by his brother were like the light push of a finger against a leaning wall already about to tumble by its own weight. These words but showed him that the

    place wherein he supposed religion dwelt in him had long been empty, and that the sentences he uttered, the crosses and bows which he made during his prayer,

    were actions with no inner sense. Having once seized their absurdity, he could no longer keep them up." Ma Confession, p. 8.

    I subjoin an additional document which has come into my possession, and which represents in a vivid way what is probably a very frequent sort of conversion, if the opposite of ‘falling in love,’ falling out of love, may be so termed. Falling in

    love also conforms frequently to this type, a latent process of unconscious preparation often preceding a sudden awakening to the fact that the mischief is irretrievably done. The free and easy tone in this narrative gives it a sincerity that speaks for itself.

    "For two years of this time I went through a very bad experience, which almost drove me mad. I had fallen violently in love with a girl who, young as she was, had a spirit of coquetry like a cat. As I look back on her now, I hate her, and

    wonder how I could ever have fallen so low as to be worked upon to such an extent by her attractions. Nevertheless, I fell into a regular fever, could think of nothing else; whenever I was alone, I pictured her attractions, and spent most of the time when I should have been working, in recalling our previous interviews, and imagining future conversations. She was very pretty, good humored, and jolly to the last degree, and intensely pleased with my admiration. Would give me no decided answer yes or no, and the queer thing about it was that whilst

    pursuing her for her hand, I secretly knew all along that she was unfit to be a wife for me, and that she never would say yes. Although for a year we took our meals at the same boarding-house, so that I saw her continually and familiarly,

    our closer relations had to be largely on the sly, and this fact, together with my jealousy of another one of her male admirers, and my own conscience despising me for my uncontrollable weakness, made me so nervous and sleepless that I

    really thought I should become insane. I understand well those young men murdering their sweethearts, which appear so often in the papers. Nevertheless I did love her passionately, and in some ways she did deserve it.

    "The queer thing was the sudden and unexpected way in which it all stopped. I

    was going to my work after breakfast one morning, thinking as usual of her and of my misery, when, just as if some outside power laid hold of me, I found myself turning round and almost running to my room, where I immediately got

    out all the relics of her which I possessed, including some hair, all her notes and letters, and ambrotypes on glass. The former I made a fire of, the latter I actually crushed beneath my heel, in a sort of fierce joy of revenge and punishment. I

    now loathed and despised her altogether, and as for myself I felt as if a load of disease had suddenly been removed from me. That was the end. I never spoke to her or wrote to her again in all the subsequent years, and I have never had a single moment of loving thought towards one who for so many months entirely filled my heart. In fact, I have always rather hated her memory, though now I can see that I had gone unnecessarily far in that direction. At any rate, from that happy morning onward I regained possession of my own proper soul, and have

    never since fallen into any similar trap.

    This seems to me an unusually clear example of two different levels of

    personality, inconsistent in their dictates, yet so well balanced against each other

    as for a long time to fill the life with discord and dissatisfaction. At last, not

    gradually, but in a sudden crisis, the unstable equilibrium is resolved, and this

    happens so unexpectedly that it is as if, to use the writer’s words, "some outside

    power laid hold."

    Professor Starbuck gives an analogous case, and a converse case of hatred

    suddenly turning into love, in his Psychology of Religion, p. 141. Compare the

    other highly curious instances which he gives on pp. 137-144, of sudden non-

    religious alterations of habit or character. He seems right in conceiving all such

    sudden changes as results of special cerebral functions unconsciously

    developing until they are ready to play a controlling part, when they make

    irruption into the conscious life. When we treat of sudden ‘conversion,’ I shall

    make as much use as I can of this hypothesis of subconscious incubation. )

    In John Foster’s Essay on Decision of Character, there is an account of a case of sudden conversion to avarice, which is illustrative enough to quote: --

    A young man, it appears, "wasted, in two or three years, a large patrimony in profligate revels with a number of worthless associates who called themselves his friends, and who, when his last means were exhausted, treated him of course with neglect or

    contempt. Reduced to absolute want, he one day went out of the house with an intention to put an end to his life; but wandering awhile almost unconsciously, he came to the brow of an eminence which overlooked what were lately his estates. Here he sat down,

    and remained fixed in thought a number of hours, at the end of which he sprang from the ground with a vehement, exulting emotion. He had formed his resolution, which was, that all these estates should be his again; he had formed his plan, too, which he instantly began to execute. He walked hastily forward, determined to seize the first opportunity, of however humble a kind, to gain any money, though it were ever so despicable a trifle, and resolved absolutely not to spend, if he could help it, a farthing of

    whatever he might obtain. The first thing that drew his attention was a heap of coals shot out of carts on the pavement before a house. He offered himself to shovel or wheel them into the place where they were to be laid, and was employed. He received a few

    pence for the labor; and then, in pursuance of the saving part of his plan, requested some small gratuity of meat and drink, which was given him. He then looked out for the next thing that might chance; and went, with indefatigable industry, through a succession of

    servile employments in different places, of longer and shorter duration, still scrupulous in avoiding, as far as possible, the expense of a penny. He promptly seized every opportunity which could advance his design, without regarding the meanness of

    occupation or appearance. By this method he had gained, after a considerable time, money enough to purchase in order to sell again a few cattle, of which he had taken pains to understand the value. He speedily but cautiously turned his first gains into

    second advantages; retained without a single deviation his extreme parsimony; and thus advanced by degrees into larger transactions and incipient wealth. I did not hear, or have forgotten, the continued course of his life, but the final result was, that he more than

    recovered his lost possessions, and died an inveterate miser, worth ?60,000." (Op. cit.,

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